Superplexus is a 3-D labyrinth game made by
Tiger Electronics, a division of Hasbro. The game is enclosed in a plastic see-through sphere, and players try to maneuver a steel ball through an intricate maze—on a narrow, plastic track—by twisting and turning the sphere.
Superplexus is composed of 100 numbered steps. Each step may be as simple as traversing a length of track or as complicated as jumping from one piece of track to another. Additionally, some of the steps involve dropping the ball into a cup or through a small tunnel to take advantage of its 3-dimensional nature. The game is divided into 3 segments identified by a small sensor, each with its own soundtrack. It maintains a record of the best times for individual segments and for the entire course.
It was invented by
Michael McGinnisand is actually the second version of the project. The first one proved too difficult to manufacture and as yet has not been beaten by anyone. He teaches 3-D design at Santa Rosa Junior College in Santa Rosa, California.
At least one gaming group in Santa Cruz, California has renamed it as the "Escher Ball" because of its appearance and uses it as a means to identify the group to strangers.
Superplexus was not a retail success. Retailers eventually cleared their stocks by selling them at around $5 each, with the majority of them being sold in the UK discount shops. More recently, they have been known to sell on
eBayanywhere between $25 for a non functioning puzzle to $165 for a sealed autographed version from Michael McGinnis.
[http://www.santarosa.edu/~mmcginni/superplexus/ Michael McGinnis's page about the development of Superplexus]
[http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/12/20/NB161308.DTL An article in SFGate about SuperPlexus]
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